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issn:1532-429
1.  Assessment of global myocardial perfusion reserve using cardiovascular magnetic resonance of coronary sinus flow at 3 Tesla 
Background
Despite increasing clinical use, there is limited data regarding regadenoson in stress perfusion cardiovascular magnetic resonance (CMR). In particular, given its long half-life the optimal stress protocol remains unclear. Although Myocardial Perfusion Reserve (MPR) may provide additive prognostic information, current techniques for its measurement are cumbersome and challenging for routine clinical practice.
The aims of this study were: 1) To determine the feasibility of MPR quantification during regadenoson stress CMR by measurement of Coronary Sinus (CS) flow; and 2) to investigate the role of aminophylline reversal during regadenoson stress-CMR.
Methods
117 consecutive patients with possible myocardial ischemia were prospectively enrolled. Perfusion imaging was performed at 1 minute and 15 minutes after administration of 0.4 mg regadenoson. A subgroup of 41 patients was given aminophylline (100 mg) after stress images were acquired. CS flow was measured using phase-contrast imaging at baseline (pre CS flow), and immediately after the stress (peak CS flow) and rest (post CS flow) perfusion images.
Results
CS flow measurements were obtained in 92% of patients with no adverse events. MPR was significantly underestimated when calculated as peak CS flow/post CS flow as compared to peak CS flow/pre CS flow (2.43 ± 0.20 vs. 3.28 ± 0.32, p = 0.03). This difference was abolished when aminophylline was administered (3.35 ± 0.44 vs. 3.30 ± 0.52, p = 0.95). Impaired MPR (peak CS flow/pre CS flow <2) was associated with advanced age, diabetes, current smoking and higher Framingham risk score.
Conclusions
Regadenoson stress CMR with MPR measurement from CS flow can be successfully performed in most patients. This measurement of MPR appears practical to perform in the clinical setting. Residual hyperemia is still present even 15 minutes after regadenoson administration, at the time of resting-perfusion acquisition, and is completely reversed by aminophylline. Our findings suggest routine aminophylline administration may be required when performing stress CMR with regadenoson.
doi:10.1186/1532-429X-16-24
PMCID: PMC3977939  PMID: 24674383
Cardiovascular magnetic resonance; Stress testing; Perfusion; Regadenoson
2.  Imaging of carotid artery vessel wall edema using T2-weighted cardiovascular magnetic resonance 
Background
Atherothrombosis remains a major health problem in the western world, and carotid atherosclerosis is an important contributor to embolic ischemic strokes. It remains a clinical challenge to identify rupture-prone atherosclerotic plaques before clinical events occur. Inflammation, endothelial injury and angiogenesis are features of vulnerable plaques and may all be associated with plaque edema. Therefore, vessel wall edema, which can be detected by 2D T2-weighted cardiovascular magnetic resonance (CMR), may be used as a dynamic marker of disease activity in the atherosclerotic plaque. However, 2D imaging is limited by low spatial resolution in the slice-select direction compared to 3D imaging techniques. We sought to investigate the ability of novel 3D techniques to detect edema induced in porcine carotid arteries by acute balloon injury compared to conventional 2D T2-weighted black-blood CMR.
Methods
Edema was induced unilaterally by balloon overstretch injury in the carotid artery of nine pigs. Between one to seven hours (average four hours) post injury, CMR was performed using 2D T2-weighted short-tau inversion recovery (T2-STIR), 3D volumetric isotropic turbo spin echo acquisition (VISTA) and 3D T2 prepared gradient-echo (T2prep-GE). The CMR images were compared in terms of signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) and contrast-to-noise (CNR) ratio. Furthermore, the presence of vessel wall injury was validated macroscopically by means of Evans Blue dye that only enters the injured vessel wall.
Results
All three imaging sequences classified the carotid arteries correctly compared to Evans Blue and all sequences demonstrated a significant increase in SNR of the injured compared to the non-injured carotid vessel wall (T2-STIR, p = 0.002; VISTA, p = 0.004; and T2prep-GE, p = 0.003). There was no significant difference between sequences regarding SNR and CNR.
Conclusion
The novel 3D imaging sequences VISTA and T2prep-GE perform comparably to conventional 2D T2-STIR in terms of detecting vessel wall edema. The improved spatial coverage of these 3D sequences may facilitate visualization of vessel wall edema to enable detection and monitoring of vulnerable carotid atherosclerotic plaques.
doi:10.1186/1532-429X-16-22
PMCID: PMC3973999  PMID: 24593873
Cardiovascular magnetic resonance; Atherosclerosis; Inflammation; Carotid artery
3.  Quantitative three-dimensional cardiovascular magnetic resonance myocardial perfusion imaging in systole and diastole 
Background
Two-dimensional (2D) perfusion cardiovascular magnetic resonance (CMR) remains limited by a lack of complete myocardial coverage. Three-dimensional (3D) perfusion CMR addresses this limitation and has recently been shown to be clinically feasible. However, the feasibility and potential clinical utility of quantitative 3D perfusion measurements, as already shown with 2D-perfusion CMR and positron emission tomography, has yet to be evaluated. The influence of systolic or diastolic acquisition on myocardial blood flow (MBF) estimates, diagnostic accuracy and image quality is also unknown for 3D-perfusion CMR. The purpose of this study was to establish the feasibility of quantitative 3D-perfusion CMR for the detection of coronary artery disease (CAD) and to compare systolic and diastolic estimates of MBF.
Methods
Thirty-five patients underwent 3D-perfusion CMR with data acquired at both end-systole and mid-diastole. MBF and myocardial perfusion reserve (MPR) were estimated on a per patient and per territory basis by Fermi-constrained deconvolution. Significant CAD was defined as stenosis ≥70% on quantitative coronary angiography.
Results
Twenty patients had significant CAD (involving 38 out of 105 territories). Stress MBF and MPR had a high diagnostic accuracy for the detection of CAD in both systole (area under curve [AUC]: 0.95 and 0.92, respectively) and diastole (AUC: 0.95 and 0.94). There were no significant differences in the AUCs between systole and diastole (p values >0.05). At stress, diastolic MBF estimates were significantly greater than systolic estimates (no CAD: 3.21 ± 0.50 vs. 2.75 ± 0.42 ml/g/min, p < 0.0001; CAD: 2.13 ± 0.45 vs. 1.98 ± 0.41 ml/g/min, p < 0.0001); but at rest, there were no significant differences (p values >0.05). Image quality was higher in systole than diastole (median score 3 vs. 2, p = 0.002).
Conclusions
Quantitative 3D-perfusion CMR is feasible. Estimates of MBF are significantly different for systole and diastole at stress but diagnostic accuracy to detect CAD is high for both cardiac phases. Better image quality suggests that systolic data acquisition may be preferable.
doi:10.1186/1532-429X-16-19
PMCID: PMC3941945  PMID: 24565078
Cardiovascular magnetic resonance; Perfusion, 3-dimensional; Myocardial perfusion imaging; Ischemic heart disease; Myocardial blood flow
5.  In vivo characterization of rodent cyclic myocardial perfusion variation at rest and during adenosine-induced stress using cine-ASL cardiovascular magnetic resonance 
Background
Assessment of cyclic myocardial blood flow (MBF) variations can be an interesting addition to the characterization of microvascular function and its alterations. To date, totally non-invasive in vivo methods with this capability are still lacking. As an original technique, a cine arterial spin labeling (ASL) cardiovascular magnetic resonance approach is demonstrated to be able to produce dynamic MBF maps across the cardiac cycle in rats.
Method
High-resolution MBF maps in left ventricular myocardium were computed from steady-state perfusion-dependent gradient-echo cine images produced by the cine-ASL sequence. Cyclic changes of MBF over the entire cardiac cycle in seven normal rats were analyzed quantitatively every 6ms at rest and during adenosine-induced stress.
Results
The study showed a significant MBF increase from end-systole (ES) to end-diastole (ED) in both physiological states. Mean MBF over the cardiac cycle within the group was 5.5 ± 0.6 mL g-1 min-1 at rest (MBFMin = 4.7 ± 0.8 at ES and MBFMax = 6.5 ± 0.6 mL g-1 min-1 at ED, P = 0.0007). Mean MBF during adenosine-induced stress was 12.8 ± 0.7mL g-1 min-1 (MBFMin = 11.7±1.0 at ES and MBFMax = 14.2 ± 0.7 mL g-1 min-1 at ED, P = 0.0007). MBF percentage relative variations were significantly different with 27.2 ± 9.3% at rest and 17.8 ± 7.1% during adenosine stress (P = 0.014). The dynamic analysis also showed a time shift of peak MBF within the cardiac cycle during stress.
Conclusion
The cyclic change of myocardial perfusion was examined by mapping MBF with a steady-pulsed ASL approach. Dynamic MBF maps were obtained with high spatial and temporal resolution (6ms) demonstrating the feasibility of non-invasively mapping cyclic myocardial perfusion variation at rest and during adenosine stress. In a pathological context, detailed assessment of coronary responses to infused vasodilators may give valuable complementary information on microvascular functional defects in disease models.
doi:10.1186/1532-429X-16-18
PMCID: PMC3937054  PMID: 24548535
Myocardial blood flow; Microcirculation; Adenosine; Perfusion; Rat heart
6.  Chronic diuretic therapy attenuates renal BOLD magnetic resonance response to an acute furosemide stimulus 
Background
Blood Oxygen Level Dependent (BOLD) magnetic resonance (MR) is a novel imaging tool that detects changes in tissue oxygenation. Increases in renal oxygenation in response to a standard 20 mg intravenous furosemide stimulus have been evaluated to assess kidney viability in patients with renal artery stenosis (RAS). The effect of prior exposure to furosemide on the ability of BOLD MR techniques to evaluate renal function is unknown.
This study tested the hypothesis that chronic loop diuretic therapy is associated with attenuated responses in renal tissue oxygenation as measured by BOLD MR with an acute 20 mg intravenous furosemide stimulus in participants undergoing evaluation for RAS.
Methods
Thirty-eight participants referred for evaluation of RAS were recruited for this study. We examined renal cortical and medullary BOLD signal (T2*) intensities before and after a 20 mg intravenous furosemide stimulus. Additionally, we measured changes in renal artery blood flow using phase contrast techniques.
Results
After controlling for covariates age, race, gender, diabetes, glomerular filtration rate, body mass index, and stenosis severity, daily oral furosemide dose was an independent, negative predictor of renal medullary T2* response (p = 0.01) to a standard 20 mg intravenous furosemide stimulus. Stenosis severity and ethnicity were also significant independent predictors of changes in T2* signal intensity in response to an acute furosemide challenge. Changes in renal blood flow in response to acute furosemide administration were correlated with changes in T2* in the renal cortex (r = 0.29, p = 0.03) but not the medulla suggesting changes in renal medullary oxygenation were not due to reduced renal medullary blood flow.
Conclusions
Chronic furosemide therapy attenuates BOLD MR responses to an acute furosemide stimulus in patients with RAS being evaluated for renal artery revascularization procedures. Thus, patients who are chronically administered loop diuretics may need a different dosing strategy to accurately detect changes in renal oxygenation with BOLD MR in response to a furosemide stimulus.
doi:10.1186/1532-429X-16-17
PMCID: PMC3914363  PMID: 24490671
Renal BOLD; Oxygenation; Furosemide; Renal artery stenosis
7.  Population-based studies of myocardial hypertrophy: high resolution cardiovascular magnetic resonance atlases improve statistical power 
Background
Cardiac phenotypes, such as left ventricular (LV) mass, demonstrate high heritability although most genes associated with these complex traits remain unidentified. Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have relied on conventional 2D cardiovascular magnetic resonance (CMR) as the gold-standard for phenotyping. However this technique is insensitive to the regional variations in wall thickness which are often associated with left ventricular hypertrophy and require large cohorts to reach significance. Here we test whether automated cardiac phenotyping using high spatial resolution CMR atlases can achieve improved precision for mapping wall thickness in healthy populations and whether smaller sample sizes are required compared to conventional methods.
Methods
LV short-axis cine images were acquired in 138 healthy volunteers using standard 2D imaging and 3D high spatial resolution CMR. A multi-atlas technique was used to segment and co-register each image. The agreement between methods for end-diastolic volume and mass was made using Bland-Altman analysis in 20 subjects. The 3D and 2D segmentations of the LV were compared to manual labeling by the proportion of concordant voxels (Dice coefficient) and the distances separating corresponding points. Parametric and nonparametric data were analysed with paired t-tests and Wilcoxon signed-rank test respectively. Voxelwise power calculations used the interstudy variances of wall thickness.
Results
The 3D volumetric measurements showed no bias compared to 2D imaging. The segmented 3D images were more accurate than 2D images for defining the epicardium (Dice: 0.95 vs 0.93, P < 0.001; mean error 1.3 mm vs 2.2 mm, P < 0.001) and endocardium (Dice 0.95 vs 0.93, P < 0.001; mean error 1.1 mm vs 2.0 mm, P < 0.001). The 3D technique resulted in significant differences in wall thickness assessment at the base, septum and apex of the LV compared to 2D (P < 0.001). Fewer subjects were required for 3D imaging to detect a 1 mm difference in wall thickness (72 vs 56, P < 0.001).
Conclusions
High spatial resolution CMR with automated phenotyping provides greater power for mapping wall thickness than conventional 2D imaging and enables a reduction in the sample size required for studies of environmental and genetic determinants of LV wall thickness.
doi:10.1186/1532-429X-16-16
PMCID: PMC3914701  PMID: 24490638
Imaging-genetics; LVH; Cardiomyopathy; GWAS; Biobank; Cardiovascular magnetic resonance; Image analysis
8.  Myocardial arterial spin labeling perfusion imaging with improved sensitivity 
Background
Myocardial arterial spin labeling (ASL) is a noninvasive MRI based technique that is capable of measuring myocardial blood flow (MBF) in humans. It suffers from poor sensitivity to MBF due to high physiological noise (PN). This study aims to determine if the sensitivity of myocardial ASL to MBF can be improved by reducing image acquisition time, via parallel imaging.
Methods
Myocardial ASL scans were performed in 7 healthy subjects at rest using flow-sensitive alternating inversion recovery (FAIR) tagging and balanced steady state free precession (SSFP) imaging. Sensitivity encoding (SENSE) with a reduction factor of 2 was used to shorten each image acquisition from roughly 300 ms per heartbeat to roughly 150 ms per heartbeat. A paired Student’s t-test was performed to compare measurements of myocardial blood flow (MBF) and physiological noise (PN) from the reference and accelerated methods.
Results
The measured PN (mean ± standard deviation) was 0.20 ± 0.08 ml/g/min for the reference method and 0.08 ± 0.05 ml/g/min for the accelerated method, corresponding to a 60% reduction. PN measured from the accelerated method was found to be significantly lower than that of the reference method (p = 0.0059). There was no significant difference between MBF measured from the accelerated and reference ASL methods (p = 0.7297).
Conclusions
In this study, significant PN reduction was achieved by shortening the acquisition window using parallel imaging with no significant impact on the measured MBF. This indicates an improvement in sensitivity to MBF and may also enable the imaging of subjects with higher heart rates and imaging during systole.
doi:10.1186/1532-429X-16-15
PMCID: PMC3913326  PMID: 24467918
Arterial spin labeling; Myocardial perfusion; Physiological noise; Sensitivity; Parallel imaging
9.  Cardiovascular magnetic resonance risk stratification in patients with clinically suspected myocarditis 
Background
The diagnosis of myocarditis is challenging due to its varying clinical presentation. Since myocarditis can be associated with significant 5-year mortality, and postmortem data show myocarditis in almost 10% of all adults suffering sudden cardiac death, individual risk stratification for patients with suspected myocarditis is of great clinical interest. We sought to demonstrate that patients with clinically suspected myocarditis and a normal cardiovascular magnetic resonance (CMR) according to our definition have a good prognosis, independent of their clinical symptoms and other findings.
Methods
Prospective clinical long-term follow-up of consecutive patients undergoing CMR for work-up of clinically suspected myocarditis at our institution in 2007-2008.
Results
Follow-up was available for n = 405 patients (all-comers, 54.8% inpatients, 38% outpatient referrals from cardiologists). Median follow-up time was 1591 days. CMR diagnosis was “myocarditis” in 28.8%, “normal” in 55.6% and “other pathology” in 15.6%. Normal CMR was defined as normal left ventricular (LV) volumes and normal left ventricular ejection fraction (LV-EF) in the absence of late Gadolinium Enhancement (LGE). The overall mortality was 3.2%. There were seven cardiac deaths during follow-up, in addition one aborted SCD and two patients had appropriate internal cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) shocks – all of these occurred in patients with abnormal CMR. Kaplan-Meier analysis with log-rank test showed significant difference for major adverse cardiac events (cardiac death, sudden cardiac death (SCD), ICD discharge, aborted SCD) between patients with normal and abnormal CMR (p = 0.0003).
Conclusion
In our unselected population of consecutive patients referred for CMR work-up of clinically suspected myocarditis, patients with normal CMR have a good prognosis independent of their clinical symptoms and other findings.
doi:10.1186/1532-429X-16-14
PMCID: PMC3913958  PMID: 24461053
Cardiovascular magnetic resonance; Risk stratification; Myocarditis; Outcome
10.  Voxel-wise quantification of myocardial blood flow with cardiovascular magnetic resonance: effect of variations in methodology and validation with positron emission tomography 
Background
Quantitative assessment of myocardial blood flow (MBF) from cardiovascular magnetic resonance (CMR) perfusion images appears to offer advantages over qualitative assessment. Currently however, clinical translation is lacking, at least in part due to considerable disparity in quantification methodology. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of common methodological differences in CMR voxel-wise measurement of MBF, using position emission tomography (PET) as external validation.
Methods
Eighteen subjects, including 9 with significant coronary artery disease (CAD) and 9 healthy volunteers prospectively underwent perfusion CMR. Comparison was made between MBF quantified using: 1. Calculated contrast agent concentration curves (to correct for signal saturation) versus raw signal intensity curves; 2. Mid-ventricular versus basal-ventricular short-axis arterial input function (AIF) extraction; 3. Three different deconvolution approaches; Fermi function parameterization, truncated singular value decomposition (TSVD) and first-order Tikhonov regularization with b-splines. CAD patients also prospectively underwent rubidium-82 PET (median interval 7 days).
Results
MBF was significantly higher when calculated using signal intensity compared to contrast agent concentration curves, and when the AIF was extracted from mid- compared to basal-ventricular images. MBF did not differ significantly between Fermi and Tikhonov, or between Fermi and TVSD deconvolution methods although there was a small difference between TSVD and Tikhonov (0.06 mL/min/g). Agreement between all deconvolution methods was high. MBF derived using each CMR deconvolution method showed a significant linear relationship (p < 0.001) with PET-derived MBF however each method underestimated MBF compared to PET (by 0.19 to 0.35 mL/min/g).
Conclusions
Variations in more complex methodological factors such as deconvolution method have no greater effect on estimated MBF than simple factors such as AIF location and observer variability. Standardization of the quantification process will aid comparison between studies and may help CMR MBF quantification enter clinical use.
doi:10.1186/1532-429X-16-11
PMCID: PMC3904701  PMID: 24460930
Cardiovascular magnetic resonance; Coronary artery disease; Myocardial blood flow; Positron emission tomography; Quantification
11.  Cardiac gating calibration by the Septal Scout for magnetic resonance coronary angiography 
Background
Electrocardiogram (ECG) gating is commonly used to synchronize imaging windows to diastasis periods over multiple heartbeats in magnetic resonance (MR) coronary angiography. Calibration of the ECG gating parameters is typically based on a cine cardiovascular MR (CMR) video of the beating heart. Insufficient temporal resolution in the cine-CMR method, however, may produce gating errors and motion artifacts.
It was previously shown that tissue Doppler echocardiography (TDE) can identify accurate diastasis window timings by observing the movement of the interventricular septum (IVS). We present a new CMR technique, the Septal Scout, for measuring IVS motion. We demonstrate that cardiac gating windows determined by the Septal Scout produce sharper coronary MR angiography images than windows determined by cine-CMR.
Methods
9 healthy volunteers were scanned on a GE Optima 450w 1.5T MR system. Cine-CMR was acquired and used to identify the start and end times of the diastasis window (Wcine).
The Septal Scout employs a one-dimensional steady-state free precession (SSFP) readout along the ventricular septum prescribed from the 4-chamber view. The Septal Scout data is processed to produce a septal velocity function, from which the diastasis window was determined (Wsep).
Non-contrast-enhanced MR angiography was performed twice for each volunteer: once gated to Wcine, once to Wsep. Vessel sharpness was assessed subjectively by two experienced observers, and quantitatively by full width half maximum (FWHM) measurements of cross-sectional vessel profiles.
In addition, TDE was performed on a subcohort of 6 volunteers where diastasis windows (WTDE) were determined from the IVS velocity measured in the 4-chamber view. W sep and W TDE were compared using Pearson’s correlation.
Results
MRA acquisitions were successful in all volunteers. Vessel segments produced smaller FWHM measurements and were deemed sharper when imaged during the Septal Scout gating windows (p < 0.05). Subjective assessment of sharpness also improved for the Septal Scout-gated scans (p < 0.01 for both observers). Lastly, W sep and W TDE were highly correlated (R > 0.98, p < 0.001).
Conclusions
The MR Septal Scout technique was introduced and demonstrated to be more accurate at determining cardiac gating windows than cine-CMR, yielding sharper coronary MR angiography images.
doi:10.1186/1532-429X-16-12
PMCID: PMC3931665  PMID: 24460958
Cardiac gating; Magnetic resonance coronary angiography; Septal scout
12.  Feature tracking compared with tissue tagging measurements of segmental strain by cardiovascular magnetic resonance 
Background
Left ventricular segmental wall motion analysis is important for clinical decision making in cardiac diseases. Strain analysis with myocardial tissue tagging is the non-invasive gold standard for quantitative assessment, however, it is time-consuming. Cardiovascular magnetic resonance myocardial feature-tracking (CMR-FT) can rapidly perform strain analysis, because it can be employed with standard CMR cine-imaging. The aim is to validate segmental peak systolic circumferential strain (peak SCS) and time to peak systolic circumferential strain (T2P-SCS) analysed by CMR-FT against tissue tagging, and determine its intra and inter-observer variability.
Methods
Patients in whom both cine CMR and tissue tagging has been performed were selected. CMR-FT analysis was done using endocardial (CMR-FTendo) and mid-wall contours (CMR-FTmid). The Intra Class Correlation Coefficient (ICC) and Pearson correlation were calculated.
Results
10 healthy volunteers, 10 left bundle branch block (LBBB) and 10 hypertrophic cardiomyopathy patients were selected. With CMR-FT all 480 segments were analyzable and with tissue tagging 464 segments.
Significant differences in mean peak SCS values of the total study group were present between CMR-FTendo and tissue tagging (-23.8 ± 9.9% vs -13.4 ± 3.3%, p < 0.001). Differences were smaller between CMR-FTmid and tissue tagging (-16.4 ± 6.1% vs -13.4 ± 3.3%, p = 0.001). The ICC of the mean peak SCS of the total study group between CMR-FTendo and tissue tagging was low (0.19 (95%-CI-0.10-0.49), p = 0.02). Comparable results were seen between CMR-FTmid and tissue tagging. In LBBB patients, mean T2P-SCS values measured with CMR-FTendo and CMR-FTmid were 418 ± 66 ms, 454 ± 60 ms, which were longer than with tissue tagging, 376 ± 55 ms, both p < 0.05. ICC of the mean T2P-SCS between CMR-FTendo and tissue tagging was 0.64 (95%-CI-0.36-0.81), p < 0.001, this was better in the healthy volunteers and LBBB group, whereas the ICC between CMR-FTmid and tissue tagging was lower.
The intra and inter-observer agreement of segmental peak SCS with CMR-FTmid was lower compared with tissue tagging; similar results were seen for segmental T2P-SCS.
Conclusions
The intra and inter-observer agreement of segmental peak SCS and T2P-SCS is substantially lower with CMR-FTmid compared with tissue tagging. Therefore, current segmental CMR-FTmid techniques are not yet applicable for clinical and research purposes.
doi:10.1186/1532-429X-16-10
PMCID: PMC3926943  PMID: 24450803
Cardiovascular magnetic resonance; Myocardial wall motion; Tissue tagging; Myocardial feature-tracking
13.  Observational study of regional aortic size referenced to body size: production of a cardiovascular magnetic resonance nomogram 
Background
Cardiovascular magnetic resonance (CMR) is regarded as the gold standard for clinical assessment of the aorta, but normal dimensions are usually referenced to echocardiographic and computed tomography data and no large CMR normal reference range exists. As a result we aimed to 1) produce a normal CMR reference range of aortic diameters and 2) investigate the relationship between regional aortic size and body surface area (BSA) in a large group of healthy subjects with no vascular risk factors.
Methods
447 subjects (208 male, aged 19–70 years) without identifiable cardiac risk factors (BMI range 15.7–52.6 kg/m2) underwent CMR at 1.5 T to determine aortic diameter at three levels: the ascending aorta (Ao) and proximal descending aorta (PDA) at the level of the pulmonary artery, and the abdominal aorta (DDA), at a level 12 cm distal to the PDA. In addition, 201 of these subjects had aortic root imaging, allowing for measurements at the level of the aortic valve annulus (AV), aortic sinuses and sinotubular junction (STJ).
Results
Normal diameters (mean ±2 SD) were; AV annulus male(♂) 24.4 ± 5.4, female (♀) 21.0 ± 3.6 mm, aortic sinus♂32.4 ± 7.7, ♀27.6 ± 5.8 mm, ST-junction ♂25.0 ± 7.4, ♀21.8 ± 5.4 mm, Ao ♂26.7 ± 7.7, ♀25.5 ± 7.4 mm, PDA ♂20.6 ± 5.6, +18.9 ± 4.0 mm, DDA ♂17.6 ± 5.1, ♀16.4 ± 4.0 mm. Aortic root and thoracic aortic diameters increased at all levels measured with BSA. No gender difference was seen in the degree of dilatation with increasing BSA (p > 0.5 for all analyses).
Conclusion
Across both genders, increasing body size is characterized by a modest degree of aortic dilatation, even in the absence of traditional cardiovascular risk factors.
doi:10.1186/1532-429X-16-9
PMCID: PMC3899403  PMID: 24447690
Aorta; Cardiovascular magnetic resonance; Obesity; Normal Range
14.  Semi-automated left ventricular segmentation based on a guide point model approach for 3D cine DENSE cardiovascular magnetic resonance 
Background
The most time consuming and limiting step in three dimensional (3D) cine displacement encoding with stimulated echoes (DENSE) MR image analysis is the demarcation of the left ventricle (LV) from its surrounding anatomical structures. The aim of this study is to implement a semi-automated segmentation algorithm for 3D cine DENSE CMR using a guide point model approach.
Methods
A 3D mathematical model is fitted to guide points which were interactively placed along the LV borders at a single time frame. An algorithm is presented to robustly propagate LV epicardial and endocardial surfaces of the model using the displacement information encoded in the phase images of DENSE data. The accuracy, precision and efficiency of the algorithm are tested.
Results
The model-defined contours show good accuracy when compared to the corresponding manually defined contours as similarity coefficients Dice and Jaccard consist of values above 0.7, while false positive and false negative measures show low percentage values. This is based on a measure of segmentation error on intra- and inter-observer spatial overlap variability. The segmentation algorithm offers a 10-fold reduction in the time required to identify LV epicardial and endocardial borders for a single 3D DENSE data set.
Conclusion
A semi-automated segmentation method has been developed for 3D cine DENSE CMR. The algorithm allows for contouring of the first cardiac frame where blood-myocardium contrast is almost nonexistent and reduces the time required to segment a 3D DENSE data set significantly.
doi:10.1186/1532-429X-16-8
PMCID: PMC3903450  PMID: 24423129
Cardiovascular MR; DENSE; Segmentation; Guide point modeling
15.  Tracking of stem cells in vivo for cardiovascular applications 
In the past ten years, the concept of injecting stem and progenitor cells to assist with rebuilding damaged blood vessels and myocardial tissue after injury in the heart and peripheral vasculature has moved from bench to bedside. Non-invasive imaging can not only provide a means to assess cardiac repair and, thereby, cellular therapy efficacy but also a means to confirm cell delivery and engraftment after administration. In this first of a two-part review, we will review the different types of cellular labeling techniques and the application of these techniques in cardiovascular magnetic resonance and ultrasound. In addition, we provide a synopsis of the cardiac cellular clinical trials that have been performed to-date.
doi:10.1186/1532-429X-16-7
PMCID: PMC3925252  PMID: 24406054
Cell tracking; Cell labeling; Stem cells; Cardiovascular disease; Computed tomography; Fluoroscopy; Cardiovascular magnetic resonance; Radionuclide imaging; Optical imaging; Ultrasound; Image-guided therapy
16.  Feasibility of asymmetric stretch assessment in the ascending aortic wall with DENSE cardiovascular magnetic resonance 
Background
Vessel diameter is the principal imaging parameter assessed clinically for aortic disease, but adverse events can occur at normal diameters. Aortic stiffness has been studied as an additional imaging-based risk factor, and has been shown to be an independent predictor of cardiovascular morbidity and all-cause mortality. Reports suggest that some aortic pathology is asymmetric around the vessel circumference, a feature which would not be identified with current imaging approaches. We propose that this asymmetry may be revealed using Displacement Encoding with Stimulated Echoes (DENSE). The objective of this study is to investigate the feasibility of assessing asymmetric stretch in healthy and diseased ascending aortas using DENSE.
Methods
Aortic wall displacement was assessed with DENSE cardiovascular magnetic resonance (CMR) in 5 volunteers and 15 consecutive patients. Analysis was performed in a cross-sectional plane through the ascending aorta at the pulmonary artery. Displacement data was used to determine the wall stretch between the expanded and resting states of the aorta, in four quadrants around the aortic circumference.
Results
Analysis of variance (ANOVA) did not only show significant differences in stretch between groups of volunteers (p < 0.001), but also significant differences in stretch along the circumference of the aorta (p < 0.001), indicating an asymmetric stretch pattern. Furthermore, there is a significant difference in the asymmetry between volunteers and different groups of patients (p < 0.01).
Conclusions
Evaluation of asymmetric stretch is feasible in the ascending aorta with DENSE CMR. Clear differences in stretch are seen between patients and volunteers, with asymmetric patterns demonstrated around the aortic circumference.
doi:10.1186/1532-429X-16-6
PMCID: PMC3895850  PMID: 24400865
Aorta; DENSE; Stretch; Stiffness; Bicuspid aortic valves; Cardiovascular magnetic resonance
17.  Non-invasive imaging of carotid arterial restenosis using 3T cardiovascular magnetic resonance 
Background
Restenosis of the carotid artery is common following carotid endarterectomy, but analysis of lesion composition has mostly been based on histological study of explanted restenotic lesions. This study investigated the ability of 3T cardiovascular magnetic resonance (CMR) to determine the components of recurrent carotid artery disease and examined whether these differed from primary atherosclerotic plaque.
Methods
50 patients underwent 3T CMR of both carotid arteries using a standard multicontrast protocol: time-of-flight (TOF), T1-weighted (T1W), T2-weighted (T2W), and PD-weighted (PDW) Turbo-Spin-Echo (TSE) sequences. 25 patients had previously undergone carotid endarterectomy (mean time since surgery 1580 days, range 45–6560 days), and 25 with primary asymptomatic atherosclerotic plaques served as controls. Two experienced reviewers analysed the multicontrast CMR images according to the presence or absence of major plaque features and assigned an overall classification type.
Results
In patients with recurrent carotid disease following endarterectomy, the mean degree of restenosis was 51% (range 30–90%). Three distinct types of restenosis were identified: 5 patients (20%) showed CMR characteristics of fibro-atheromatous tissue, 11 patients (44%) had plaque features consistent with possible myointimal (fibromuscular) hyperplasia, and 6 patients (24%) had recurrent plaque suggestive of further lipid accumulation. Three patients (12%) showed evidence of post-surgical dissection of the carotid intima. Compared to primary atherosclerotic plaques, restenotic plaques were more likely to contain fibro-atheromatous tissue (p = 0.05) and smooth muscle (p < 0.01), and less likely to contain lipid (p < 0.01). Composition did not differ significantly between patients with early and late restenosis.
Conclusions
As defined by CMR, restenotic lesions of the carotid artery fall into three distinct types and differ in composition from primary atherosclerotic plaques. If validated by subsequent histological studies, these findings could suggest a role for CMR in detecting high-risk (i.e. lipid-rich) restenotic lesions.
doi:10.1186/1532-429X-16-5
PMCID: PMC3895839  PMID: 24400841
Atherosclerosis; Cardiovascular magnetic resonance; Carotid plaque imaging; Carotid arteries; Restenosis
18.  Relationship between mechanical dyssynchrony and intra-operative electrical delay times in patients undergoing cardiac resynchronization therapy 
Background
It is important to understand the relationship between electrical and mechanical ventricular activation in CRT patients. By measuring local electrical activation at multiple locations within the coronary veins and myocardial contraction at the same locations in the left ventricle, we determined the relationship between electrical and mechanical activation at potential left ventricular pacing locations.
Methods
In this study, mechanical contraction times were computed using high temporal resolution cine cardiovascular magnetic resonance (CMR) data, while electrical activation times were derived from intra-procedural local electrograms.
Results
In our cohort, there was a strong correlation between electrical and mechanical delay times within each patient (R2 = 0.78 ± 0.23). Additionally, the latest electrically activated location corresponded with the latest mechanically contracting location in 91% of patients.
Conclusions
This study provides initial evidence that our method of obtaining non-invasive mechanical activation patterns accurately reflects the underlying electromechanical substrate of intraventricular dyssynchrony.
doi:10.1186/1532-429X-16-4
PMCID: PMC3895745  PMID: 24393383
Electrophysiology; Cardiac resynchronization therapy; Cardiovascular magnetic resonance; Electromechanical delay
19.  Cardiovascular magnetic resonance assessment of ventricular function and myocardial scarring before and early after repair of anomalous left coronary artery from the pulmonary artery 
Background
In patients with anomalous left coronary artery from the pulmonary artery (ALCAPA) left ventricular (LV) dilatation and dysfunction evolves due to diminished myocardial perfusion caused by coronary steal phenomenon. Using late gadolinium enhanced cardiovascular magnetic resonance (LGE-CMR) imaging, myocardial scarring has been shown in ALCAPA patients late after repair, however the incidence of scarring before surgery and its impact on postoperative course after surgical repair remained unknown.
Methods
8 ALCAPA-patients (mean age 10.0 ± 5.8 months) underwent CMR before and early after (mean 4.9 ± 2.5 months) coronary reimplantation procedures. CMR included functional analysis and LGE for detection of myocardial scars.
Results
LV dilatation (mean LVEDVI 171 ± 94 ml/m2) and dysfunction (mean LV-EF 22 ± 10 %) was present in all patients and improved significantly after surgery (mean LVEDV 68 ± 42 ml/m2, p = 0.02; mean LV-EF 58 ± 19 %, p < 0.001). Preoperative CMR revealed myocardial scarring in 2 of the 8 patients and did not predict postoperative course. At follow-up CMR, one LGE-positive patient showed delayed recovery of LV function while myocardial scarring was still present in both patients. In two patients new-onset transmural scarring was found, although functional recovery after operation was sufficient. One of them showed a stenosis of the left coronary artery and required resurgery.
Conclusions
Despite diminished myocardial perfusion and severely compromised LV function, myocardial scarring was preoperatively only infrequently present. Improvement of myocardial function was independent of new-onset scarring while the impact of preoperative scarring still needs to be defined.
doi:10.1186/1532-429X-16-3
PMCID: PMC3910683  PMID: 24387660
ALCAPA syndrome; Left ventricular remodelling; Cardiovascular magnetic resonance; Hibernation; Infarction
20.  T1-mapping in the heart: accuracy and precision 
The longitudinal relaxation time constant (T1) of the myocardium is altered in various disease states due to increased water content or other changes to the local molecular environment. Changes in both native T1 and T1 following administration of gadolinium (Gd) based contrast agents are considered important biomarkers and multiple methods have been suggested for quantifying myocardial T1 in vivo. Characterization of the native T1 of myocardial tissue may be used to detect and assess various cardiomyopathies while measurement of T1 with extracellular Gd based contrast agents provides additional information about the extracellular volume (ECV) fraction. The latter is particularly valuable for more diffuse diseases that are more challenging to detect using conventional late gadolinium enhancement (LGE). Both T1 and ECV measures have been shown to have important prognostic significance.
T1-mapping has the potential to detect and quantify diffuse fibrosis at an early stage provided that the measurements have adequate reproducibility. Inversion recovery methods such as MOLLI have excellent precision and are highly reproducible when using tightly controlled protocols. The MOLLI method is widely available and is relatively mature. The accuracy of inversion recovery techniques is affected significantly by magnetization transfer (MT). Despite this, the estimate of apparent T1 using inversion recovery is a sensitive measure, which has been demonstrated to be a useful tool in characterizing tissue and discriminating disease. Saturation recovery methods have the potential to provide a more accurate measurement of T1 that is less sensitive to MT as well as other factors. Saturation recovery techniques are, however, noisier and somewhat more artifact prone and have not demonstrated the same level of reproducibility at this point in time.
This review article focuses on the technical aspects of key T1-mapping methods and imaging protocols and describes their limitations including the factors that influence their accuracy, precision, and reproducibility.
doi:10.1186/1532-429X-16-2
PMCID: PMC3927683  PMID: 24387626
T1 map; Accuracy; Precision; Reproducibility; ECV; Off-resonance; MOLLI; SASHA; ShMOLLI; Cardiovascular magnetic resonance
21.  Cardiovascular magnetic resonance in pregnancy: Insights from the cardiac hemodynamic imaging and remodeling in pregnancy (CHIRP) study 
Background
Cardiovascular disease in pregnancy is the leading cause of maternal mortality in North America. Although transthoracic echocardiography (TTE) is the most widely used imaging modality for the assessment of cardiovascular function during pregnancy, little is known on the role of cardiovascular magnetic resonance (CMR). The objective of the Cardiac Hemodynamic Imaging and Remodeling in Pregnancy (CHIRP) study was to compare TTE and CMR in the non-invasive assessment of maternal cardiac remodeling during the peripartum period.
Methods
Between 2010–2012, healthy pregnant women aged 18 to 35 years were prospectively enrolled. All women underwent TTE and CMR during the third trimester and at least 3 months postpartum (surrogate for non-pregnant state).
Results
The study population included a total of 34 women (mean age 29 ± 3 years). During the third trimester, TTE and CMR demonstrated an increase in left ventricular end-diastolic volume from 95 ± 11 mL to 115 ± 14 mL and 98 ± 6 mL to 125 ± 5 mL, respectively (p < 0.05). By TTE and CMR, there was also an increase in left ventricular (LV) mass during pregnancy from 111 ± 10 g to 163 ± 11 g and 121 ± 5 g to 179 ± 5 g, respectively (p < 0.05). Although there was good correlation between both imaging modalities for LV mass, stroke volume, and cardiac output, the values were consistently underestimated by TTE.
Conclusion
This CMR study provides reference values for cardiac indices during normal pregnancy and the postpartum state.
doi:10.1186/1532-429X-16-1
PMCID: PMC3882291  PMID: 24387349
Pregnancy; Cardiovascular magnetic resonance; Cardiovascular remodeling; Transthoracic echocardiography
22.  Obesity reduces left ventricular strains, torsion, and synchrony in mouse models: a cine displacement encoding with stimulated echoes (DENSE) cardiovascular magnetic resonance study 
Background
Obesity affects a third of adults in the US and results in an increased risk of cardiovascular mortality. While the mechanisms underlying this increased risk are not well understood, animal models of obesity have shown direct effects on the heart such as steatosis and fibrosis, which may affect cardiac function. However, the effect of obesity on cardiac function in animal models is not well-defined. We hypothesized that diet-induced obesity in mice reduces strain, torsion, and synchrony in the left ventricle (LV).
Methods
Ten 12-week-old C57BL/6 J mice were randomized to a high-fat or low-fat diet. After 5 months on the diet, mice were imaged with a 7 T ClinScan using a cine DENSE protocol. Three short-axis and two long-axis slices were acquired for quantification of strains, torsion and synchrony in the left ventricle.
Results
Left ventricular mass was increased by 15% (p = 0.032) with no change in volumes or ejection fraction. Subepicardial strain was lower in the obese mice with a 40% reduction in circumferential strain (p = 0.008) a 53% reduction in radial strain (p = 0.032) and a trend towards a 19% reduction in longitudinal strain (p = 0.056). By contrast, subendocardial strain was modestly reduced in the obese mice in the circumferential direction by 12% (p = 0.028), and no different in the radial (p = 0.690) or longitudinal (p = 0.602) directions. Peak torsion was reduced by 34% (p = 0.028). Synchrony of contraction was also reduced (p = 0.032) with a time delay in the septal-to-lateral direction.
Conclusions
Diet-induced obesity reduces left ventricular strains and torsion in mice. Reductions in cardiac strain are mostly limited to the subepicardium, with relative preservation of function in the subendocardium. Diet-induced obesity also leads to reduced synchrony of contraction and hypertrophy in mouse models.
doi:10.1186/1532-429X-15-109
PMCID: PMC3882783  PMID: 24380567
Obesity; Mouse; Cardiovascular magnetic resonance; DENSE; Strain; Heart
23.  Prognostic value of normal regadenoson stress perfusion cardiovascular magnetic resonance 
Background
Regadenoson is a vasodilator stress agent that selectively activates the A2A receptor. Compared to adenosine, regadenoson is easier to administer and results in fewer side effects. Although extensively studied in patients undergoing nuclear perfusion imaging (MPI), its use for perfusion cardiovascular magnetic resonance (CMR) is not well described. The aim of this study was to determine the prognostic value of a normal regadenoson perfusion CMR in patients with known or suspected coronary artery disease.
Methods
Patients with known or suspected coronary artery disease were prospectively enrolled to receive perfusion CMR (Philips 1.5 T) with regadenoson. Three short-axis slices of the left ventricle (LV) were obtained during first pass of contrast using a hybrid GRE-EPI pulse sequence (0.075 mmol/kg Gadolinium-DTPA-BMA at 4 ml/sec). Imaging was performed 1 minute after injection of regadenoson (0.4 mg) and repeated 15 minutes after reversal of hyperemia with aminophylline (125 mg). Perfusion defects were documented if they persisted for ≥2 frames after peak enhancement of the LV cavity. CMR was considered abnormal if there was a resting wall motion abnormality, decreased LVEF (<40%), presence of LGE, or the presence of a perfusion defect during hyperemia. All patients were followed for a minimum of 1 year for major adverse cardiovascular event (MACE) defined as coronary revascularization, non-fatal myocardial infarction, and cardiovascular death.
Results
149 patients were included in the final analysis. Perfusion defects were noted in 43/149 (29%) patients; 59/149 (40%) had any abnormality on CMR. During the mean follow-up period of 24 ± 9 months, 17/149 (11.4%) patients experienced MACE. The separation in the survival distributions for those with perfusion defects and those without perfusion defects was highly significant (log-rank p = 0.0001). When the absence of perfusion defects was added to the absence of other resting CMR abnormalities, the negative predictive value improved from 96% to 99%.
Conclusion
Regadenoson perfusion CMR provides high confidence for excellent prognosis in patients with normal perfusion.
doi:10.1186/1532-429X-15-108
PMCID: PMC3878099  PMID: 24359617
Cardiovascular magnetic resonance; Myocardial perfusion; Regadenoson
24.  Prevalence and distribution of late gadolinium enhancement in a large population of patients with Duchenne muscular dystrophy: effect of age and left ventricular systolic function 
Background
Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD), an X-linked disorder affects approximately 1 in 5000 males, is universally associated with heart disease. We previously identified myocardial disease by late gadolinium enhancement (LGE) in DMD subjects at various stages of disease, but the true prevalence is unclear. Cardiovascular magnetic resonance (CMR) is well established for both assessment of ventricular function and myocardial fibrosis by LGE. We sought to establish i) prevalence and distribution of LGE in a large DMD population and ii) relationship among LGE, age, LVEF by CMR and current living status.
Methods
Current living status, demographic and CMR data including ventricular volumes, LVEF and LGE from 314 DMD patients undergoing evaluation at a single large tertiary referral center were analyzed.
Results
113 of 314 (36%) of DMD subjects showed LGE positivity with prevalence increasing from 17% of patients <10 years to 34% of those aged 10–15 years and 59% of those >15 years-old. Patients with LVEF ≥55% were LGE positive in 30% of cases; this increased to 84% for LVEF <55%. LGE was more prevalent in the free wall (531/1243, 42.7%) vs. septal segments (30/565, 5.3%). Patients with septal involvement were significantly older and had lower LVEF than those with isolated free wall LGE. Ten percent (11/113) patients who had LGE died 10.8 months after CMR. Only one patient from the LGE negative group died. Patients who died had higher heart rate, larger left ventricular volume and mass, greater number of positive LGE segment and increase incident of septal LGE compared to those who remained alive.
Conclusion
In DMD patients, LGE occurs early, is progressive and increases with both age and decreasing LVEF. Segmentally, the incidence of the number of positive LGE segments increase with age and lower LVEF. Older patients and those who died during the study period had more septal LGE involvement. The current studies suggest that the time course and distribution of LGE-positivity may be an important clinical biomarker to aid in the management of DMD-associated cardiac disease.
doi:10.1186/1532-429X-15-107
PMCID: PMC3896985  PMID: 24359596
Cardiovascular magnetic resonance; Duchenne muscular dystrophy; Late gadolinium enhancement; Ejection fraction; Myocardial fibrosis
25.  Evaluation of current algorithms for segmentation of scar tissue from late Gadolinium enhancement cardiovascular magnetic resonance of the left atrium: an open-access grand challenge 
Background
Late Gadolinium enhancement (LGE) cardiovascular magnetic resonance (CMR) imaging can be used to visualise regions of fibrosis and scarring in the left atrium (LA) myocardium. This can be important for treatment stratification of patients with atrial fibrillation (AF) and for assessment of treatment after radio frequency catheter ablation (RFCA). In this paper we present a standardised evaluation benchmarking framework for algorithms segmenting fibrosis and scar from LGE CMR images. The algorithms reported are the response to an open challenge that was put to the medical imaging community through an ISBI (IEEE International Symposium on Biomedical Imaging) workshop.
Methods
The image database consisted of 60 multicenter, multivendor LGE CMR image datasets from patients with AF, with 30 images taken before and 30 after RFCA for the treatment of AF. A reference standard for scar and fibrosis was established by merging manual segmentations from three observers. Furthermore, scar was also quantified using 2, 3 and 4 standard deviations (SD) and full-width-at-half-maximum (FWHM) methods. Seven institutions responded to the challenge: Imperial College (IC), Mevis Fraunhofer (MV), Sunnybrook Health Sciences (SY), Harvard/Boston University (HB), Yale School of Medicine (YL), King’s College London (KCL) and Utah CARMA (UTA, UTB). There were 8 different algorithms evaluated in this study.
Results
Some algorithms were able to perform significantly better than SD and FWHM methods in both pre- and post-ablation imaging. Segmentation in pre-ablation images was challenging and good correlation with the reference standard was found in post-ablation images. Overlap scores (out of 100) with the reference standard were as follows: Pre: IC = 37, MV = 22, SY = 17, YL = 48, KCL = 30, UTA = 42, UTB = 45; Post: IC = 76, MV = 85, SY = 73, HB = 76, YL = 84, KCL = 78, UTA = 78, UTB = 72.
Conclusions
The study concludes that currently no algorithm is deemed clearly better than others. There is scope for further algorithmic developments in LA fibrosis and scar quantification from LGE CMR images. Benchmarking of future scar segmentation algorithms is thus important. The proposed benchmarking framework is made available as open-source and new participants can evaluate their algorithms via a web-based interface.
doi:10.1186/1532-429X-15-105
PMCID: PMC3878126  PMID: 24359544
Late gadolinium enhancement; Cardiovascular magnetic resonance; Atrial fibrillation; Segmentation; Algorithm benchmarking

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